Still from Charles Atlas' Ex-Romance (1987)
Still from Charles Atlas' Ex-Romance (1987)
Courtesy of the artist

5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week

This week, dancers try using a plane wing as a stage and a performance artist moonlights as a fitness instructor. 

5. White Bronco in the sky
A lightly blurred image of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco hovers above La Brea and First, on a billboard that's mostly the same neutral and gray colors as its surroundings. The Undefeated clothing store on the same street reportedly is behind the image, and it’s surprising how right it looks there, as if it’s such an obvious L.A. icon that it deserves that kind of space. La Brea and First Street, Mid-City; indefinitely. undefeated.com

4. Drunken tree test pose
“For this exercise, you need a marijuana joint,” says artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, who’s leading a yoga class for “the Bohemian artist” and putting a joint to his lips. “But I cannot light it right now, as we are in the Museum of Modern Art.” Then he swigs beer in the background while his students do the “drunken tree test” pose, balancing on one foot while touching their noses. This is an early scene in Mexercise, the video L.A.-based artist Mariah Garnett made with Tijuana-based Gómez-Peña. The 20-minute mashup of art-world pretensions and racial stereotypes currently plays in an upstairs gallery of Human Resources. It’s part of “The Border Again,” an appropriately rough-edged show of work mostly made in Tijuana, which ends this weekend with a discussion meant as a follow-up to the “Decolonizing the White Box” forums Human Resources hosted last year to grapple with the art world’s pervasive whiteness. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; discussion Sunday, March 8, 6-9 p.m. (213) 290-4752, humanresourcesla.com

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3. Seriously sized
The paintings in the first gallery of Monique Van Genderen’s “Manufactured Paintings,” at Susanne Vielmetter, stretch from floor to ceiling. This means they’re each about 14 feet tall, and their size makes them seem serious and imposing even though the marks appear playful and improvised. One painting includes two round gray forms with holes in their centers. They look like doughnut-shaped rocks about to roll away. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City; through April 4. (310) 837-2117, vielmetter.com

2. Gangster's back deck
Thomas Demand’s new photographs at Matthew Marks depict scenes we know from the news. There's recently caught gangster Whitey Bulger’s balcony, and Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s backyard. But Demand has re-crafted these scenes, making meticulous models out of paper in his studio, and he's left out the people (in the source photo, Tsarnaev’s wife appeared). He then photographed his paper models. In his perfectly lit re-creations, real scenes become almost too controlled and pristine to believe. 1062 N. Orange Grove and 7818 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd; through April 4. (212) 243-0200, matthewmarks.com

1. Dancing dangerously
In Charles Atlas’ 1987 film Ex-Romance, one dance sequence takes place on a conveyor belt and another is on the wing of a plane. The soundtrack is American pop and Latin, and the plot centers on a fictional version of choreographer Karole Armitage (played by Armitage) who drifts in and out of three different romances. The film is rarely shown, but it will screen as part of the nine-day “Atlas in L.A.” festival organized by artist Paul Pescador. The whole festival begins at the Hammer, with a lecture by the artist, who's quite soft-spoken, in contrast to the visual loudness of much of his work. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.; and other locations through March 19. Full schedule at atlasinla.tumblr.com.  

For more things to do in L.A. visit laweekly.com/calendar.

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